Everything Everywhere knew the road to switching on a 4G LTE network in the UK before the end of 2012 was going to be a difficult one, and sure enough, since announcing its plans it has met with considerable opposition.
Surprisingly, one of the few groups in favour was Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, who said the move would benefit consumers and that barring any formal complaints from other parties, Everything Everywhere could go ahead with its proposal.
However, complaints came in from all the other major mobile networks in the UK, with Vodafone saying that in allowing Everything Everywhere to introduce 4G this year Ofcom would be ‘giving them an unfair advantage.’ The reason for this is because unlike Everything Everywhere, it doesn’t have a spare slice of the 1800MHz spectrum to use for 4G, and must wait for Ofcom’s continuously delayed 4G spectrum auction at the end of the year.
Despite Ofcom siding with Everything Everywhere, it has obviously been paying attention to the complaints, as initially a decision was to be made on 17 April, but a new statement has been issued changing that date to 8 May, in order to give others more time to respond.
It’s ironic that Ofcom, already under fire for delaying the spectrum auction, has now delayed its decision here too, although we doubt Everything Everywhere will be raising a smile at the news.
After all, the longer it takes for a decision to be made, the less time the network will have to complete the work necessary to launch a 4G system before the end of the year.